Monday, April 14, 2008

NEWCA '08

I was, in a sense, really not looking forward to going to NEWCA this year. I was traveling with a not insubstantial negative balance in my bank account, meaning I couldn't put gas in my car (or in myself, for that matter; planning a three-day weekend that includes literally one meal you've prepaid for is a bit depressing). I was stressed out that nearly the entirety of conference planning fell to me, and although everyone made her own photocopies, I still had to make a late night trip to Kinko's to photocopy materials, spending over $40 to make copies for our presentation the night before leaving; and then wound up collating the photocopies alone late after 10 p.m. the night before the presentation because everyone else was too tired - nor did we even run through the presentation outline we had prepared a few weeks ago.

It was really the details of planning that were negative. The drive both up to Vermont and back to New York were absolutely fine, despite the rain in both directions. I brought the GPS Chris got me for my birthday last February, and even though I had printed out Google Maps' directions, I had picked up Vhary and Patricia in Brooklyn and missed my turn in leaving the city, so the map's directions were moot, which is when the GPS came in handy. We took I-87 all the way upstate - I took a break from driving for a while, and Patricia took over - and were a bit surprised when the GPS Lady said, "Prepare to take the ferry." We were, in fact, led to a ferry that turned out to be closed for the season, but someone gave us directions to another ferry (and, at this point the shortest route to our desired destination in Vermont), and once we actually got the the ferry we were able to board right away, with no wait, and our little detour only cost us perhaps 45 minutes or an hour.

The perk of having been waylaid on our way to Vermont was that we came across
Ausable Chasm, which was a surprise. There we were, driving along in the rain (and not realizing a ferry was in the cards), when we drove across a bridge and saw this chasm, which took all of us by surprise. I'd never heard of it, although Chris did - apparently it's fairly well-known in the area.

The conference itself was a lot of fun, and for that reason alone I'm glad I went. The keynote was amazing - probably one of the best I've heard. One of the books we'd read for my tutoring class last semester was
The Everyday Writing Center, which is (was?) authored by five women who gave the keynote together. It was a very funny keynote, very lighthearted but well-presented. At the last minute it was discovered that I, in fact, had a camcorder (whereas Harry had forgotten his), so I taped their keynote. The concurrent sessions were good, too (at least the ones that I went to): Transgressive Behaviors in the writing Center, and a few minutes of Case Study Analyses of Writers with Autism. (Even though I've previously sat through three sessions in a row, I'd been running nonstop since Thursday morning, only stopping to go to bed, and I just needed time to stop, so I didn't stay for the entire session.)

And the University of Vermont campus is
huge! And very, very pretty - some gorgeous buildings and architecture all around. We got lost for about half an hour trying to find my car (which is where I was storing the handouts for our session), and were a tad late to our own session), and got lost randomly a few other times driving around the UVM campus. (I really did appreciate having the GPS to get around both campus and Burlington.)

And at least the drive home yesterday was pretty uneventful, aside from the GPS trying to redirect us back to the ferry.

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